Quality Improvement

Quality improvement is the foundation of equitable expanded learning.

We help expanded learning providers build and maintain the skills, knowledge, and tools needed to deliver high-quality programs to Washington’s youth.

What is youth program quality and why is it important?

Research shows that access to quality afterschool and summer programs is key to improving youth outcomes in school and in life—especially for low-income youth and youth of color. High-quality youth programs are guided by a quality improvement framework that  continually. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.

For children and young people,
quality programming means:

Highlands Neighborhood Center (photo by Rita Alcantara)
  • Being welcomed into safe spaces that center their own culture and community
  • Having positive, meaningful connections with program staff and other youth
  • Participating in activities that encourage self-expression and inspire them to discover their passions
  • Accessing support and learning opportunities that build critical life and career skills and improve academic performance 

 

For program staff and leadership, quality training
and continuous quality
improvement means:

Highlands Neighborhood Center (photo by Rita Alcantara)
  • Having  a common language and common expectations that are derived from a comprehensive professional development system
  • Assessing and learning from one’s own practice to identify strengths, recognize areas for future growth, and incorporate new learning experiences
  • Recognizing that each family is unique in its structure, values, beliefs, traditions, and interactions

Background and impact

Since 2008, School’s Out Washington has been leading the effort to build and sustain a quality improvement system for expanded learning programs in Washington state.

Our work is backed by research and focused on cultivating youth-driven learning opportunities that reflect the strengths and needs of local communities. Our Youth Program Quality Intervention  approach was developed [***********]. Today, we deliver [****************].

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Our approach

By defining what quality looks like, supporting programs to better understand where they are on a continuum of improvement, and providing training and coaching—we ensure that staff are equipped with the knowledge and tools needed to create positive relationships with and between the young people they support.

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Key partnerships

School’s Out Washington partners with organizations, government agencies, and funders across the state to grow and unify expanded learning systems that provide young people with equitable access to quality youth programs.

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Quality Improvement pathways

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Advocacy and community

We advocate for policies and funding that elevate the entire field of youth development while centering the needs of BIPOC youth and others furthest from educational justice.

SOWA co-leads The Youth Development Strategy Table, a coalition of advocacy groups, community-based organizations, and public agencies across the state of Washington. 

Together, we’re building an advocacy strategy that creates space for the diversity of the expanded learning and youth development sectors, while working together with a unified voice for funding to increase access and drive youth program quality. 

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Resources

Our resource library offers research, tools and data to support professional learning and advocacy for Quality Improvement.

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Getting started with Quality Improvement

School’s Out Washington offers a range of options for engaging in youth program quality improvement. For some individuals and organizations the entry point is a one-time online workshop or professional learning series. For others, quality improvement starts with customized training  and coaching. SOWA also facilitates multi-year quality initiatives in partnership with [….].

Take a workshop

Our workshops are for expanded learning, youth development, and child care professionals looking to develop their skills. Or, for program managers wanting to provide learning opportunities for their staff. Thanks to our partnership with the Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF), providers working in licensed school-age programs can receive STARS Credits from our workshop as well.

These workshops are designed to teach foundational practices for leading and engaging young people, strategies to support social emotional learning, and much more.

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Inquire about customized workshops or coaching

Customized training is  a cost-effective way to ensure that all program staff have the same knowledge base about critical issues and best practices. Organizations with multiple locations find this approach particularly helpful for improving quality across locations.

We develop training packages that target areas for learning and improvement that can be delivered on a designated timeline.  Workshops are tailored so that all staff can gain skills together and learn how to support each other to improve their work practices with young people, families, and communities.

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Learn about the full Quality Improvement process

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